Gimme Gimme Gimme! More Avarice, Please.

As a blogger (or, as I prefer to call myself, a "blogeur"), I occasionally receive what we media semi-professionals call "press releases." Sometimes, it's somebody letting me know they're selling artisanal belts made from worn tires. Other times, it's an organization that is somehow moving us towards a "sustainable future" by sending out press releases. This time, it was a communiqué from the forces occupying Wall Street:

"Hundreds of us have been occupying One Liberty Plaza, a park in the heart of the Wall Street district, since Saturday afternoon. We have marched on the Financial District, held a candlelight vigil to honor the fallen victims of Wall Street, and filled the plaza with song, dance, and spontaneous acts of liberation."

I'm not sure what a "spontaneous act of liberation is," but it sounds like a euphemism for something you'd do on the subway that would cause the person next to you to wrinkle his nose and discreetly slide down a few seats. I'm also not sure that singing and dancing is the best way to undermine the capitalist system, end corporate greed, and usher in an idyllic new age of profound compassion and unbearable smugness. Actually, if these people really want to destroy Wall Street, they should go about it in the same way that they destroyed Williamsburg, which is by moving in with their parents' money and opening a bunch of faux dive bars, overpriced coffee houses, and "vintage" clothing boutiques. Sure, fewer fates are more cruel than death by gentrification, but those soulless Wall Streeters have it coming to them.

Of course, whenever people challenge big business, the government, and other things that remind them of the mommies and daddies who cruelly made them take the hand-me-down Volvo to Bard instead of buying them a new one, you can be sure that bicycles will somehow be involved. In this case, volunteers from Time's Up are bringing in supplies via bike, and this cargo presumably included a sizable shipment of bright orange hippie hats:

None of this is to say I don't share certain sympathies with the protesters, or that I'm not slightly disturbed by the implementation of antiquated laws in order to arrest people with costly liberal arts educations who were forced to drive old Volvos. It's just that, personally, I feel alienated by the "flambullient" approach and instead prefer the "live your life apart" approach. In fact, I'm already in the process of completely divorcing myself from "the system," and to this end my first step is attaining complete independence from the financial system by changing all my US dollars for Chris King headsets. As you know, I keep close watch on the Chris King Headset Composite Index (or CKHCI), and I've concluded that global economic collapse is imminent and that this is the time to "cash out" once and for all. Unfortunately, due to the strength of the CKHCI, my entire life savings only netted me a grand total of three and a half headsets (and 1" threaded ones at that). However, thanks to my foresight, I'm confident that by the time the economy lies in ruins I will own enough Chris King headsets to fill a "bake feets," which will make me a post-apocalyptic dystopian robber baron of smugness.

Speaking of hoarding, not too long ago the New York Times published the following article about "bicycle collectors:"

You may recall that, last November, I was molested in Prospect Park by a tenacious wheelsucker who then went on to call me a "pussy." Well, you can imagine my surprise to see that very wheelsucker, Harry Schwartzman, beaming in a completely unwarranted fashion before his "collection" of mostly unremarkable and varyingly rideable bicycles.

Schwartzman's name was not the only one in the article that sounded familiar to me, either. I also recognized the name of Noah John Gellner, who has a bunch of old mountain bikes is "a curator and an archivist of a specific period of mountain-bike innovation that flourished from the early 1980s to the early ’90s." Heading to my archives, I confirmed that he was in fact the person who purchased a bicycle from me a number of years ago--a business transaction that I recall as being among the most protracted I've ever endured. (And I live in a Brooklyn co-op!) I was rather puzzled by this at the time, but I now understand that he wasn't simply buying a used mountain bike as I had assumed and was in fact "curating" a collection of tremendous historic and intellectual import. Of course, the fault is mine, because clearly I had no idea of the cultural implications of my actions when I posted the thing on Craigslist.

Anyway, Schwartzman advises would-be collectors that “This hobby will consume your finances, your brain and your apartment, and therefore perhaps your relationship with your significant other," though I would argue that if he's having interpersonal problems it could stem from behavior such as latching onto complete strangers while drunk and then calling them "pussies." This can also lead to running into pedestrians, which the Times now reports is a bigger problem than was previously thought:

Of course, given the fact that the number has declined over the years, coupled with the fact that the number of cyclists is increasing significantly, it means that cyclists are actually safer now. Still, it should not surprise you to read comments such as this:

Why is the cyclist-apologist crowd's first instinct always to point out that cars are dangerous to pedestrians? We all know that already, and hopefully we all realize that's a problem in need of attention, too. However, if I'm driving and I run over a pedestrian in my car, there are dire consequences, and rightfully so. If, however, I'm walking and a cyclist runs me over while going against traffic, against the lights AND on the sidewalk, provided the bike is still serviceable, the only consequence is that the cyclist will arrive at work thirty seconds late (and armed with another story of his "oppression") while I'm being loaded into the ambulance. Deflecting attention to another problem doesn't solve the one at hand.

Actually, the way our system works, there really aren't any consequences for running somebody down with your car. Unless you're demonstrably drunk or you send a certified letter and photo to the police beforehand that says "I'm going to run this person down," you'll probably be fine. However, get doored by a cop on your bike and you're under arrest. Still, this is as it should be, since if you're on a bike you might be smuggling bright orange hippie hats to anti-Wall Street protesters.

Speaking of cycling in the city, remember that whole "fixie" thing? That was cute, wasn't it? Well, its entire history can be summed up with a single word--"meh"--and here's the period at the end of that mercifully short sentence:

Finally, urban cycling has its "Breakin'."
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